afghan quake beyond kabul james intv_00004420.jpg
Afghan earthquake rescue efforts in Kabul and beyond
02:19 - Source: CNNI

Story highlights

NEW: Pakistan death rises to 248; overall deaths now at 364

"I avoided death by inches," says survivor whose shop collapsed

Aid official: Accessing badly affected villages in mountainous areas will be "major challenge"

Islamabad, Pakistan CNN  — 

The girls, between 10 and 15 years old, were crushed in their Taluqan city school’s stairwell, between the first and second floors, local police spokesman Abdul Khalil Asir said.

He ran out of the building just before it collapsed into rubble.

“I avoided death by inches,” he told CNN.

His shop in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was one of thousands of structures flattened by the magnitude-7.5 earthquake that struck South Asia on Monday afternoon, killing at least 364 people and injuring more than 2,000 others.

Jarm, Afghanistan earthquake

As the death toll continues to rise, officials in Pakistan and Afghanistan are trying to gauge the scale of the devastation and figure out how to get help to hard-hit communities scattered across remote, mountainous areas.

“Many villages in normal circumstances are one or two hours from proper roads,” said Arif Noor, the Pakistan director for the aid group Mercy Corps. “As you can imagine, reaching those people and helping them out is going to be a major challenge.”

Boulders tumbling down on roads

The epicenter of the quake was in northeastern Afghanistan, but the majority of the deaths – at least 248, according to officials – have so far been reported across the border in Pakistan. That may be because the Pakistani areas are more heavily populated than the Afghan ones.